Recently, I’ve started teaching more and more spin classes. If you told me a year ago I would be a spin-addicted instructor, I would’ve laughed in ya face! That’s right, not even a year has gone by since I took my FIRST spin class. Crazy what difference a year can make!?
I was convinced by a group of girls I worked with to try it out. From that very first class, I knew I had found a new passion. I was never one for cardio, always opting for a weight lifting or gentle yoga class, but after my first breatheless spin experience, I couldn’t believe what I was missing!
Fast forward six months and I was spinning anywhere I could! From gyms, to SoulCycle to boutique studios, I was hooked. I recruited some friends and it became our new favorite thing. I’m telling you all this because my love affair with spin in not unique, this is how most people feel about their experience. The music, the energy, the sweat—it creates the most amazing relationship with fitness.
That brings me here. I know from personal experience the hesitation (and intimidation) that comes with trying something new for the first time, especially a spin class. So I thought I’d put together some tips to help you feel more confident heading into your first ride. These pointers might not all make sense right now, but after you crush first ride it’ll all click!
EATING + HYDRATING
- First things first, you must eat something before class! Now, I don’t mean a full on eggs benedict breakfast but you definitely need some carbs & protein. Oatmeal and a spoonful of peanut butter, a banana and some string cheese (yes, my newest obsession, HELLO 8g of protein!) are some good choices and of course WATER.
- MUST. DRINK. WATER. You sweat buckets in these classes and being dehydrated puts you on the fast track to seeing stars after your first high resistance climb. Drink at least 16oz. of water a half hour before class and be sure to come with a fully loaded bottle for during class.
ITS OK TO BE NEW
- Let your instructor know you are new to spin so he or she can help you set up your bike properly. (And don’t worry, just because you’ve announced yourself as the newbie in the class does not mean the instructor will be watching everything you do. Promise.)
- Bike set up is CRUCIAL to a great ride and not hurting yourself. If your bike isn’t set up according to your height you risk seriously injuring your knees/muscles/back. It ain’t pretty and definitely worth the extra step. Get to class 15 minutes prior to ensure you can grab the instructor’s attention (and sit behind a group of people so you can follow them!)
ALL IN YOUR FORM
- Now this is key. Well, everything is on this list, but pay attention to this too. Keep your form to keep from injuring yourself and forever hating spin. That means using the handlebar for BALANCE and not SUPPORT. Its there to keep you from falling over, not to prop you up. So light grip on ‘em and minimal pressure on your upper body.
- This is really important when you come up out of the saddle (that’s the seat) and into 3rd position (that’s with your hands placed wide at the tops of the handlebars). Keep in mind to not come forward over the handlebars but think about always keeping your butt and hips back over that seat. This will eliminate unnecessary pressure on your back and shoulders.
- Another thing to note is to keep your feet flat on the pedals. As you push through each stroke think of making smooth circles pushing through your heels. You definitely couldn’t ride a road bike with pointed toes so don’t let those toe cages fool ya. (*Bonus* find a studio that lets you rent spin shoes if you don't already have a pair. Being clipped into the bike will help you SO much!)
Finally, TAKE IT EASY
- This isn’t the Tour de France, and you def are no Lance Armstrong (yet) so no need to try to keep up. Follow the flow of the class and what the instructor is telling you but know your limits. You wouldn’t be the first one to pass out or throw up from over exertion. For realz.
- Places like SoulCycle are great at reminding newbies to pay attention to the more experienced riders (they actually tell new riders to sit in the back. Ha!) But it’s a great perspective for anyone new to the game!
Hope these tips were helpful and give you some confidence going into your first class! Grab a friend and tackle it together. Working out with a friend takes fitness to a whole ‘nother level!
With lots of love + big hugs!